Quilts and quilt designs are created by combining blocks. By changing the shapes of the pieces within a block (i.e., substituting triangles for squares) and/or changing the placement of the colors of the pieces (i.e., switching light fabric for dark fabric), you can create a whole new quilt design while keeping construction of your quilt the same.

Simple is the name of the game for many quilters. Using one or two shapes for all of the pieces in your quilt makes it easy to sew; and squares and triangles offer many advantages in terms of simplicity. As a beginning quilter, making the sewing simple gives you the opportunity to focus on learning and practicing basic quilt making techniques that you will use as you develop your craft.

Interesting variations in quilt blocks are achieved through placement of the fabrics in addition to how each patch is divided. A simple nine patch quilt block can be used as an example of how different a block can look just by changing the placement of colors within the nine patches of one block.

Using only two colors of fabric in alternating squares creates a design like a checkerboard. With the same nine patch of two colors of fabric, using only square patches in each block, you can create a pattern that looks like a big X in your quilt. Thus, the Irish Chain, and variations of it.

Getting a little more complex, you can take some of the square patches in the blocks and divide them in half from corner to corner (commonly called half-square triangles in the quilting world), and create a star design. Using the same half-square triangles and square patches, by simply placing the fabrics in a specific design, your checkerboard or square turns into a basket, or leaf shape, a bow tie shape, or even a series of diamonds.

Add complexity to your design by increasing the number of colors in your quilt, and your design changes once again. And all of those design changes can be created by using only three basic shapes - squares, half-square triangles and quarter-square triangles.

Quilts are amazing works of art that have survived the test of time, and will continue to do so as long as there is fabric and quilting imagination.

Happy Quilting!

Penny Halgren is a quilter of more than 24 years who seeks to interest new quilters and provide them with the resources necessary to create beautiful quilts.

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©2006, Penny Halgren

Penny Halgren - EzineArticles Expert Author